No report has been made to the Police Service about the suspected case of child abuse.
A still photograph of the boy, said to be nine years old, appeared in a TV6 report on Wednesday evening, showing him tied to a tree with his hands behind his back, and his trousers pulled down to his ankle.
The television report said the boy was beaten by a friend of his mother for giving “back chat.” The incident was said to have taken place in Malabar. The photo was uploaded to the social website Facebook.
While the police yesterday told Newsday they had no report of the incident, they were investigating the source of the photo to determine where the incident would have occurred.
The Children’s Authority in a release said it was horrified, and strongly condemned the actions of the person responsible for humiliating the child.
The authority said it was in contact with the police to substantiate whether the video originated in Trinidad and Tobago.
Noting that up to press time, neither the Child Protection Unit nor the authority had received any report of the incident, the release appealed to anyone with information on the child or the alleged abuser, to call the authority’s hotline at 996 or 800-2014.
Since the authority became fully operational on May 18, the release said, that of the 748 reports received to date, 145 cases were related to children who were physically abused.
Although Section 4 of the Children Act, 2012 permits only parents and guardians to apply “reasonable” corporal punishment on children and forbids its use by others, the release said reports of physical abuse against children were often far outside anything permissible.
Through investigations of cases, the release said, the authority recognised that some parents and guardians were under extreme stress, have little support and may resort to corporal punishment. Research shows that corporal punishment teaches children that hitting was an acceptable response to anger, the authority said, and it was necessary to teach children how to manage anger without violence.
The release noted that the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development will be conducting parenting workshops designed to help parents and guardians identify the stressors that lead them to choose inappropriate ways to discipline children, and to help them develop skills to deal with undesirable behaviour.
The authority also noted that it has assessed six of the seven girls who were allegedly physically abused at the Women’s Prison and was preparing treatment plans, including alternative placement, to inform their continued care.
The authority noted the need to establish appropriate facilities to accommodate children displaying challenging behaviours and children in conflict with the law. As such, it was ready and committed to support all initiatives to ensure that adequate accommodation and care were provided to children in custody.